Teachers Key to Reversing High Failure Rate in Math


We received a query from a high school principal about the failure rate in algebra in his school. At the end of the first quarter, 44 percent of students were receiving grades of D or F. At the end of the first semester, the rate had increased to 55 percent. When the administration met with the teachers to offer support, teachers took the following positions... Read more

I’m the Only One Teaching This Course. How Do I Collaborate?


One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, "I am the only one teaching this course. How can I be part of a collaborative team?" This question has been addressed numerous times in previous blogs, yet the uncertainty remains pervasive… Read more

Stop Blaming and Take Action: One Teacher’s Manifesto


A teacher who attended a two-day conference on PLCs was moved to write the following manifesto urging her colleagues to join her in a concerted effort to bring the PLC concept to life in their school… Read more

Tech Tools for Teams: Collaborate Using Twitter


Let me start by making an observation based on the past six years that I've spent working as a member of a highly motivated professional learning team: Collaboration may be incredibly rewarding and professionally satisfying, but it ain't easy… Read more

Are There Universities That Teach PLC Principles?


We aren't familiar enough with the programs of the many colleges around the country to recommend particular schools. The best option for a school district is to examine the course requirements of the… Read more

Working in Vertical Teams


We received an inquiry regarding how vertical teams would work together in a professional learning community. Here are some ideas... Read more

Clarifying Collective Inquiry


We received a question about collective inquiry as it relates to professional learning communities. The writer indicated he was confused and wondered if it simply meant the comparison of test scores of the students of a collaborative team. He asked for clarification and… Read more

Motivating Teachers to Collaborate


I recently responded to the following question regarding how to motivate those teachers who do not fully engage in the collaborative process: Our district has adopted a PLC vision, which is fantastic. Two years ago… Read more

The Role of Support Staff in a Professional Learning Community


Recently, an assistant superintendent for operations inquired about the role the support staff plays in a district that is committed to functioning as a professional learning community (PLC). While the answer to… Read more

Does This Seem Like a PLC Format?

We recently received the following question: At my school we have two mandatory PLC meetings scheduled per month in the mornings before our contract hours begin. We are in the process of preparing to establish schoolwide intervention… Read more

Should We Adhere to Our District’s Prescribed Curriculum or Engage in the Team Learning Process?

We recently received the following message from a principal: I’m trying to understand the relationship between essential outcomes and a math program. My interpretation is that the math program would support the students’ learning… Read more

A Delicate Dialogue On Data


Teachers and principals in a number of schools and districts have asked, "How do you have the tough conversation about data without offending teachers?" and "What do you do in response to discouraging… Read more

Questions New Teams Should Consider Early On


Twice this week we received emails from teachers who were just beginning to work in collaborative teams. One of the first issues they tackled was grading and homework policies, and they immediately . . . Read more

Drilling Deeper in a Professional Learning Community


The term professional learning communityhas become enormously popular, but the actual practices that form the framework of the professional learning community concept are much less evident in most . . . Read more

Student Grouping in a PLC

We received a message from a school that had concluded assigning students to academic classes based on their ability was the best way to promote differentiated instruction for students. While we . . . Read more